Alicia Vikander as Ava, an artificial intelligence that seeks its freedom in the science fiction thriller, "Ex Machina" (2015) -- just one of a long line of mechanical marvels in the movies.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
The concept of robots was introduced by Czech Karel Capek in the 1921 play "R.U.R." But a more striking introduction was made in Fritz Lang's 1927 "Metropolis," in which a mechanical creature was transformed into the beautiful Maria to help thwart a rebellion among the underclass.
Klaatu Barata Nikto!
The most beautiful robot of all time was also one of the most threatening: The robot policeman Gort, accompanying a visiting alien in "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (1951), could emit a destructive laser for which there was no protection, except via a cryptic code-phrase.
Back, And Bigger Than Ever
Robby the Robot, the mechanical assistant of the crazy scientist in "Forbidden Planet" (1956), proved so popular that MGM brought him back the following year, not in a sequel but as partner to 10-year-old Richard Eyer, out to save the world in "The Invisible Boy."
Mechanical monstrosities in afternoon serials and low-budget thrillers often carried out the dastardly deeds of their overlords. "The Phantom Empire" (1935), "Zombies of the Stratosphere" (1952) and 1954's "Tobor the Great" (that's robot spelled backwards, get it?) were memorable, if financially challenged.
Huey, Dewey And Louie
In the ecological thriller "Silent Running" (1971), three diminutive drones (including Dewey, above) were the helpers of a renegade biologist (Bruce Dern) trying to salvage Earth's last remaining plant life after it had been shot into space. The robots were played by amputee actors.
Made in Man's Image
Some robots were artificial humans whose real identify may or may not be known to other characters, like the replaced suburban women in "The Stepford Wives." "Westworld" (left) featured an amusement park populated by androids. The replicants of "Blade Runner" were, by some accounts, more human than humans.
We Don't Serve Their Kind Here
"Droids" didn't get must respect in the universe of "Star Wars" (1977), but they got a lot of audience love. C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) were unwitting heroes in a galactic tale of rebellion against an evil empire.
I'll Be Back
Underneath Arnold Schwarzenegger's imposing exterior was the synthetic heart and steel of a robot from the future, sent back in time to kill the mother of a still-to-be-born rebel leader, in "The Terminator" (1984).
I've Got Your Back
In crime-riddled New Detroit, Omni Consumer Products offers the latest in "urban pacification": The ED-209 law enforcement Droid. Unfortunately for OCP executive Ronny Cox, not all the kinks have been worked out, in "Robocop" (1987).
Lost Among The Refuse
While many robots served the whims of their masters, "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (2001) featured a band of robots who has escaped the inhumane and destructive treatment they faced from people.
Novelist Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics included "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm" -- a law broken repeatedly in the film adaptation of Asimov's "I, Robot" (2004).
I'm Feeling Very Depressed
Marvin, the depressed android of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (2005), admits that he has "a brain the size of a planet" and yet bemoans that he is asked to do mundane chores like open doors for people. It's enough to get any advanced technology down.
It's A Car! No, Not Really
The popular 1980s toys became movie giants as shape-shifting machines from another world duking it out on our turf in "Transformers" (2007).
Heroes Aren't Born, They're Made
In the futuristic fantasy "WALL-E" (2008), the hero, a lonely robot charged with compacting all of the trash left behind by humankind, meets a sleek robot named Eve who transports him to a new world - not to mention new heights in love.
Either a Benefit Or A Threat
No spoilers here about a duplicitous robot in Ridley Scott's 1979 thriller, "Alien." But in the 1986 sequel, "Aliens," Lance Henrickson played Bishop, an artificial human who saves the day.
When Scott returned to the "Alien" universe in the 2012 thriller, Prometheus" (2012), the loyalty of Michael Fassbender's robot, David, to his human crew was less clear-cut.
Frank (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard), a personal assistant and companion to an aging ex-con, also named Frank (played by Frank Langella), becomes complicit in the aging thief's larcenous activities in the 2012 comedy-drama, "Robot & Frank."
The futuristic animated comedy "Big Hero 6" featured Baymax, a healthcare assistant created in a university lab, who becomes an integral part of a team of super-hero-ish characters trying to foil a dastardly villain's plot.
In Alex Garland's "Ex Machina," the computer scientist who creates Ava (Alicia Vikander) is the owner of a popular search engine, who takes users' search and browsing history to devise the mind of his artificial intelligence.